April 16, 2009

No more Bud at InSinkErator! Um, gimme a Corona.

There's an old saying: When corporate executives fight, it's the workers on the shop floor who suffer.

OK, I just made that up -- but it's no less true. For proof, look no farther than InSinkErator, where Anheuser-Busch products have been banned, according to a scorching memo from company parent, Emerson Electric.

Yes, banned! No more Budweiser or Bud Light on the shop floor? How will we survive? There goes quality control. There goes the company picnic!

The corporate memo to all "Division Presidents" is quite specific: "Effective immediately, we will not use Anheuser-Busch products at the Emerson world headquarters complex, Winfield Conference Center, on Emerson planes, or in Emerson suites at Busch Stadium (Cardinals), Scottrade Center (St. Louis Blues and concerts) and Edward Jones Dome (Rams). We want all divisions to comply and not purchase or stock any Anheuser-Busch products..." For emphasis, the memo underlined that last sentence.

What shall we do? Ah, but the corporate execs have thought of that (That's why they get the big bucks.): "We suggest you use Coors, Miller, Modelo (Corona, etc.) or Heineken products," says the memo from R.M. ("Bob") Cox Jr.

For those of you who work at less-enlightened companies -- those without a beer policy, for example -- let's trace this tragic dispute right to its beginning: Brewer Anheuser-Busch has long had a business relationship with Emerson, buying its manufacturing products and paying its bills within 30 days. But last year, InBev -- a Belgian brewer best known here for Beck's beer -- bought Anheuser-Busch for $52 billion ... and started taking 120 days to pay its bills.

And that is what has the Emerson executives up in arms and banning Bud... a freakin' extra 90 days' on receivables! As I said, it's always the shop floor that suffers, while the inhabitants of Emerson's skybox are drinkin' Heineken!

The full story is HERE, the internal memo from Emerson is HERE and the response from the president of Anheuser-Busch is HERE.

No word yet whether InSinkErator is taking this as seriously as the top execs at corporate ... but I'd be careful about the beverage in your lunch bucket until this blows over.

(Postscript: For what it's worth, Emerson's stock is up almost 2% today on the news.)


  1. 90 days is a long time when you have to make payroll every 2 weeks or less

  2. Anon 11:06 is right on the mark. InBev is really screwing with their suppliers here.

  3. How about real news like the shootings last night?
    Perhaps the thought is if you do not report it must not have happened?

  4. Ask ISE what corporate told them was their new payables policy a few years ago?
    The pot is definitely calling the kettle balck.

  5. Any MBA will tell you that Budweiser IS the key to a solid quality control process.

  6. From the Wikipedia entry for Grupo Modelo (Corona, Modelo, and Pacífico): "On June 12, 2008, The Wall Street Journal stated that Anheuser-Busch InBev, which owns a non-controlling 50% stake in the company, may attempt to acquire the remaining 50%."

  7. It strikes me that the Emerson execs are doing their people a favor. They'd do an even greater one by also banning Miller and Coors products and favoring real beer instead.

  8. never quote wikipedia or use it as a source.

    anybody can edit it, and it's not reliable.

    even the parts that look like stone cold facts.